Los Angeles Music Preview: THE BEST OF WAGNER’S RING (LA Phil at Disney Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on April 27, 2017

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


Little more than 200 years since the birth of Wagner, and the world still can’t get enough of the German composer. Love him or hate him, he is one of the most influential composers of the latter half of the nineteenth century. The musical innovator introduced many musical offerings, but depending on whom you ask, attend one of his massive operas and your outlook could vary. Which camp are you?: Long, sometimes meandering phrases, or torturously winding lines that refused to resolve; fluid, indescribable harmonies, or molten elusiveness; uninterrupted vocal writing with no clear separation of recitative and aria, or “Can’t the guy write a song?” What is in complete agreement is Wagner’s use of massive orchestrations brimming with dramatic coloring and a mass of orchestral sound.

Regardless of how one thinks about the operas in totality, the interlude music and some of the arias are a wonder. For the newcomer, I wouldn’t immediately recommend sitting down for the 15-hour epic opera known as The Ring Cycle, a musical milestone for many but an interminable slog for others. However, I insist you catch the all-Wagner program at Disney Hall this weekend, April 28-30, 2017. The orchestra in Ring is as much a dramatic character as the singers, and the marvelous Swiss conductor (and Music Director of the Paris Opéra) Philippe Jordan has assembled a terrific program for the LA Phil that takes this monumental work of staggering scope and length, and turns it into a sampling that will surely whet your appetite for more.

Joining Maestro Jordan will be one of the world’s great Wagnerians, Swedish dramatic soprano Iréne Theorin, who will perform “Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort” from Act III, Scene III of Die Götterdämmerung. You’ll also hear exciting passages and soaring melodies from Wagner, including the Prelude, orchestral interludes, and “Entrance of the Gods” from Das Rheingold; “Ride of the Valkyries” and “Magic Fire Music” from Die Walküre; and “Forest Murmurs” from Siegfried. You are guaranteed a gigantic and thrilling experience without having to invest 15 hours of your time.

photos courtesy of LA Phil

The Best of Wagner’s Ring
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Philippe Jordan, guest conductor; Iréne Theorin, soprano
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Friday, April 28, 2017 at 11am
Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 8pm
Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 2pm
for tickets, call 323.850.2000 or visit LA Phil

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